South Africa’s “friendly city” is hopping onto the estate-living bandwagon, with a major new lifestyle development giving other major South African cities a run for their money.

There’s a trendy hub of Port Elizabeth where you can “live, work, learn, play, shop, retire” – an all-in-one “21st Century suburb” named Westbrook.

The 128-hectare piece of land boasts 48 hectares of open space to maintain the feel of a peaceful, country setting with parks, wide pavements and green spaces. To top this is 80 buildable hectares. Ultimately, it will comprise 3 500 residential homes spread across 9 residential villages with a “town square” set to feature a variety of commercial and retail space. These offer all the elements of mixed-use constructs like security, accessibility, walkability and a strong sense of community.

This kind of secure estate-style living is highly sought in other parts of the country, especially Cape Town and Johannesburg where new developments are springing up to meet the demand for these hot properties. The estate was developed by the Amdec Group, who believe in creating a “better way of living” through their modern, well-managed estates.

“Westbrook is the first estate of its magnitude and kind in the area attracting people of all ages and from all walks of life who have been searching for a sanctuary for their families to live, learn, work and play,” explains Clifford Oosthuizen, managing director for Westbrook.

“The city of Port Elizabeth, in general, is reshaping to become a sought-after destination for properties which are relatively affordable compared to other major SA cities. We have put R91million into this development this year alone, because we believe in the future of this place. These aren’t cookie cutter houses. They don’t all look the same. That is not what our buyers are looking for. We cater for everyone – from first time buyers and small families to empty nesters who don’t yet want to move into a retirement village. You can get cheaper houses in the city, but your investment value simply won’t increase as fast or as much than if you buy at Westbrook.”

Oosthuizen has a solid track record as developer of more than 550 quality homes in Port Elizabeth, under the well-known Smallville brand. Unlike Amdec’s other major urban developments in Cape Town and Johannesburg, Westbrook is a suburban space – with all the values and perks of mixed-use living. And Port Elizabeth’s city centre is under 15km away. Westbrook can be found on the city’s modern western boundary, easily accessible off the N2 Highway, Burchell Road and off the main route of Old Cape Road.

Coupled with an increase in interest from both national and international property investors, Port Elizabeth is clearly well-established on the map and is fast emerging as one of South Africa’s trendiest cities, with a rising foodie scene, cool breweries, coffee shops, restaurants and bars, and other lifestyle amenities.

The estate itself offers a wide variety of amenities, recreation and leisure facilities, and a choice of more than 250 stores, restaurants and entertainment attractions at the nearby Bay West Mall. It is also home to Westbrook Curro School, and will soon offer world-class healthcare facilities, retail stores, restaurants, premium office space and a retirement estate within the development – which all come together at the 160,000m2 Westbrook Town Square.

“The idea is that, if you wanted to, you could set up your practice or office within walking distance of your home. You could walk to the supermarket or a restaurant in the evening, knowing that you can safely walk home. You can get a haircut, do some shopping, and take your kids to school or to the park – all in the same area. It’s suburban life in a safe environment,” explains Oosthuizen. “I once asked a new purchaser why they bought their property and they told me that they felt rich being there. That’s exactly the kind of feeling we want to elicit. Rich in terms of living the lifestyle.”In fact, perhaps the biggest drawcard of estate living is the safety and security of the lifestyle.

Residents are protected by perimeter high security fencing, gatehouses (guarded and equipped with CCTV), boundary walls with electric fencing, 24-hour security guards running patrols inside and around the perimeter. Each home is also installed with new, high-tech alarm and security systems. Westbrook Estate will also provide optic fibre throughout the entire development. Complete peace-of-mind is a scarce quality these days, but this is probably about as close as you’ll get.

This Article was first published by Real Estate Investor Magazine on 7 September 2018.